inspiration

Old Suits, New Lives!

Good Morning Dapperites,

Recently I tried a “trend” that I got to admit I was very skeptical to try at first. Turns out it’s a great way to get more use out of the suits in your wardrobe. That “trend” is breaking up your suits into separates and mixing/matching jackets and trousers.

I have this one favorite suit of mine that has definitely been featured on this blog before.  Last week I decided to bite the bullet and see how it would look pairing the jacket separately with a different pair of trousers and the trousers with a different jacket. Well here’s how it looked:

 

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Turns out my skepticism was wrong about breaking up the suit, I find it looked great although I will admit I preferred the look of the jacket with the grey trousers than I did the trousers with the navy blazer. Guess sometimes the “trends” are good after all.

I will leave you with some tips though if you are planning on giving this a go.

  1. If your suit is patterned like mine, pair the pieces with a neutral color.
  2. Solids of different colors match together. Create that contrast!
  3. Feeling daring? Go pattern on pattern BUT the patterns must be different scales (ex. large stripes with a subtle houndstooth)
  4. Own that shit! Seriously it’s all in the confidence, if you’re not comfortable wearing the combo, it will show to observers.

There you have it my friends, a new way to wear your suits and a refreshing breath of fresh air to your old ones. Have a great weekend!

 

-The Don

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Why It’s Time to Ditch the Beard in 2017

Good Evening Dapperites,

Just when you thought I fell off the face of the Earth, I come roaring back! Hahaha. It seems rocking a bearded look has been trendy the past few years, look around you in the street and you’ll see every guy rocking a beard in one way shape or form. I too was quite fond of the look until I realized (besides the fact that my employer prefers a clean cut look), what the hell’s so unique about having one if everyone else has one??

And thus comes to decision to pick up and re-familiarize myself with the razor again! Here are a few compelling cases to do so.

  1. Clean Shaven men are more likely to get hired (and earn more too!)
  2. More likely to get the girl as studies have shown that women prefer a clean, smooth face.
  3. Promotes healthier, attractive skin
  4. It’s a timeless look, trends come and go but the smooth face is forever!
  5. Maintaining and trimming a beard gets to be a pain in the ass! (Too often I’ve trimmed too much to the point where I’d have to shave it all off and start from scratch)
  6. Wet shaving, with a brush, shaving soap and straight/safety razor will make you feel like a man. Nothing reminds you you’re alive more than a taking a sharp piece of steel to your neck every morning!!
  7. My personal philosophy, why blend in when you can stand out!!!

 

To add to point number 6. If you are curious on getting started with wet shaving here are a few things you’ll need:

  1. Safety/Straight Razor: The most important tool of course, and there are multiple options within both razors. Straight razors will set you back a little more but maintain them and they are good for life.
  2. Pre-Shave Oil/Cream: This will help protect against any irritation and lubricate the whiskers better
  3. Shave Brush: To create a lather. Preferably badger hair, again a little more $ up front but good for a long long time.
  4. Shave Soap/Cream: Never mind the canned goo you’re used to. Get some good ol’soap or cream out of a tube to create a good later. My personal favorite is Proraso (they smell great too!)
  5. Styptic Pencil/Alum Block: To stop the bleeding from any nicks.
  6. Pinaud Clubman Talc: If you really want that classic barbershop scent, give your face a dusting after rinsing off, helps soothe the skin after an encounter with the blade.
  7. Aftershave: I know most people say to avoid alcohol based aftershave splashes, but if you want that classic smell, pore tightening, stinging feeling (that means it’s disinfecting your skin btw) Then go with a splash, my favorites include classics Pinaud Clubman and Aqua Velva, but there is a selection for every taste/budget out there. I also like to apply some form of moisturizer prior to the splash.
  8. Last but not least, patience! It will take some time to get the hang of everything, techniques, etc. Browse the internet look at YouTube videos and learn. Here is a great site full of helpful people. http://www.badgerandblade.com/vb/forum.php

 

And if you’re looking for supplies, the internet is chock full of options.

In the U.S. check out ClassicShaving.com, WestCoastShaving.com.

Canada check out ClassicEdge.ca, Fendrihan.ca

Locally if you’re in the Montreal area, I highly recommend Vasco Cigars downtown. Don’t let the name fool you, they are the ultimate man shop. From cigars and accessories, to cufflinks, fountain pens, barware and a killer selection of  wet shaving gear and hard to find grooming products.

If you’re in the Ottawa area, Stroked Ego has a pretty good selection of all things wet shaving. It is where I bought my first badger hair brush and pre-shave oil, after all!

Until next time,

Keep it Dapper (and clean shaven)!

 

-The Don

Update October 2016

Hello Dapperites,

You may be wondering where I’ve been lately and what I’ve been up to, why I have not been writing as much. Well here goes, I recently got a full time job at none other than Jack Victor. For those that don’t know, Jack Victor is a suit manufacturer in downtown Montreal, yes I said manufacturer in downtown Montreal. Still a family owned business founded way back in 1913. I am working in the customer service department, taking calls from retailers across North America, processing orders, etc. I could not be more happy or proud to be working in the field I am most passionate about.

I will admit, when I was offered this job I was hesitant. I felt that I could be “wasting” my communications degree I recently obtained. Well that’s bullshit. I am in a field I love for a company I respect tremendously. There is nothing wrong with that. I plan on paying my dues, working hard and moving on up. And the working hard part is why my posts on this blog will not be coming as often as they used to. The hours are long and by the time I commute back home I have time to work out, eat and maybe relax 1-2 hours. I love writing this blog and will still continue to do so when time permits.

Until next time….stay dapper my friends!

-The Don

Update August 2016

Hello Dapperites,

 

Just thought I would give an update to you all since I have been inactive on this blog for the past few months. I was extremely busy throughout the months of July and August powering through the final 2 classes of my university career. I can now proudly say that I am a graduate of Carleton University with a B.A in Communications!

Furthermore, I am now being forced to move back to Montreal due to my not being able to find a job in my field here in Ottawa. This saddens me very much as I have grown to love this great city of Ottawa and view my hometown of Montreal as a sinking ship, a cesspool of economic turmoil and political chaos. Nonetheless, I know I have many family and friends and most importantly my girlfriend that will support me. I vow to return to the city of Ottawa with a job in the near future!

Lastly, I would like invite you all to check out my side project, done for one of my classes, chronicling the history of menswear entitled “A History of Dapperness“. Now with more time on my hands I plan on being active again on this blog as well as my side project which I am keen on continuing. Thank you for reading and thank you for your support. Until next time….

 

Stay Dapper my friends!

 

-The Don

A Primer on Swimwear

With summer right around the corner the time is right to learn a little something about swimwear and where I stand on it.

 

A brief history lesson if I may (and since this is my blog, I will!). Obviously in the earliest of times, swimwear consisted of your birthday suit. In all your glory, you could go in bathe in any lake/river/pond/ocean/bathhouse you came across.

As time went on and people began to, you know, evolve, rules were put in place for men to covered while they swam/bathed. Some cultures, such as the Japanese used loincloths for bathing prior to the 19th century. The first swimsuits in the early 20th century were made entirely of wool and were often a one piece outfit (that must have itched like hell!)

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One can only imagine the horrific scent that this thing must have held after a hot day  of use in the sun.

In the 1930s however, people began to realize the nuttiness of the 1 piece and the top half was scrapped completely, resulting in the swim trunks we have become accustomed to today. Interesting to note that swimwear in the 1930s often came with belts and looked something like this:

 

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Not much changed until the 1950s postwar boom and the advent of synthetic materials such as lycra which provided more comfort and less drying time. Also gone was the belt and introduced were zippers as well as an array of patterns and styles:

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1960 was the year the iconic (or dreaded, depending on who you ask) Speedo was introduced and swimsuits were at their shortest length ever.

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The 1970s and 1980s were pretty ordinary as the Speedo-style trunks remained the overall king of swimwear until the 1990s, where the boardshort was introduced and became the #1 choice for men because of it’s ridiculous bagginess and long drying time loose comfortable fit.

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While the boardshort is still very popular, there has been a revival (Thank god!)  of varying forms of Speedo/boxer brief style trunks as well as shorter and trimmer cut shorts. So, what exactly should you be wearing this summer? Read on..

Unless you are a competitive swimmer, or have the body to pull it off, please stay away from the Speedo!

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If you look like this, don’t do it! (Think I’m being mean? tough shit)

For the average guy, swimwear that hits below the knee or mid-thigh is both stylish and acceptable. For the daring, try a retro fitted trunk like this. While it may be as tight as a Speedo, the boxer brief style covers enough. Again be mindful, if you think you’ll look ridiculous in it, or don’t have the confidence, then don’t do it.

Something I have noticed in the past few years as being very trendy are swimwear are fun prints and patterns. This is one trend I am definitely on board with, bringing a retro feel in a modern fit!

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An example of modern swimwear in a fun retro print

Another thing I am noticing are swimsuits that are designed as a 2 in 1 to function as a pair of shorts. I personally am not too keen on the idea. After a day on the beach, walking off to a bar or some place with sand stuck in my pockets is not an appealing scenario.

There you have it gents, a primer on swimwear and suggestions on how to upgrade your beach/lake/poolside look this summer! Thank you to The Gentleman’s Gazette as I sourced my information for this post from them.

As always, Stay dapper my friends!

-The Don 😉

 

 

 

The Exclusives PR: Changing the Ottawa Fashion Scene!

Good evening dapperites,

On January 29, I had a chance to attend a great event, the dawn of a new era in the Ottawa fashion scene. On this night, I attended the official launch party of The Exclusives PR. They are the city’s first PR firm catering to the fashion industry. They offer social media, event planning, production and media relations to magazines, boutiques, stylists, designers, etc.

 

The night was a great one, characterized by a gathering of a variety of players in the Ottawa fashion scene. There were makeup artists, bloggers, designers, stylists, etc. It was great to meet and mingle with a variety of them. Some of them even recognized me and my flashy custom suit from Instagram. It was definitely flattering!

 

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The Don and the founder of Me Tu Style.

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Fashion and lifestyle blogger, columnist for Ottawa at Home magazine and a great person, Katie Hession of YowCityStyle. Follow her great Instagam featuring your’s truly here.

Marcelle Bénédicte of Couture MB, follow her on Instagram12687810_1195516563809565_3621014407634471573_n

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Bohten, a great eyewear company out of Toronto

I had a chance to interview the dynamic young founder of The Exclusives, Naira Fragoso da Costa. Here is how it went:

Tell me a little about yourself:

My name is Naira, I’m 20 years old. I attend the school of Journalism and Communications at Carleton University, which I will be graduating from this December. I have been wanting to be a fashion journalist/PR since I was 12 years old.

What is your experience in the fashion world?

I modeled for almost five years within Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, doing fashion weeks within those cities and different campaigns such as – Bluesfest and Bayshore mall.

When did you get the idea to open up the Exclusives PR?

I got the idea this past November when, I watched an interview of my idol Kelly Cutrone saying “If you know the in’s and out’s of this industry, eff an internship – do your own thing.”

How long in the making has it been? What were your biggest challenges along the way?

The day after hearing Kelly’s interview on November, 30th I wrote up a business plan, the next day went to register the business with the government, the next day got a staff, then the next day started working on the website. By December, 21st we launched the site and social media accounts. By January, 29th we had our launch. Biggest challenge has been trying to get people to understand what PR even is.

Who has been your inspiration/role model throughout this whole process?

The #1 fashion PR in the world Kelly Cutrone since I was 13 up until now and designer Diane Von Furstenberg since I was 15 up until now. Eleanor Lambert and  Anna Wintour have also been tremendous inspirations to me.

What do you hope to accomplish with this venture?

To revolutionalize the Canadian fashion industry, like the fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert did with American fashion back in the WWII era.

How do you balance this with your school and personal life?

The business does take up a lot of my time and school does as well of course. But I’m a believer in the importance of spending time with our loved ones because, you honestly never know when will be the last you’ll see them. So when life hands you three choices of; work, sleep and a social life and you can only pick two. I unfortunately dropped sleep, BUT everything is temporary and like my grandmother would always say in Portuguese “Nao ha beneficios sem sacrificios.” There are “No benefits without sacrifices” so my sleep sacrifice will hopefully come to an end soon.

What are some of the challenges facing the Ottawa fashion industry?

Everything. There’s potential but there’s no knowledge and professionalism, to make it flourish into a well rounded fashion atmosphere – like Toronto or Montreal. The fashion industry in Ottawa has absolutely no value to it, things are done in an unprofessional manner and that is why things remain so mediocre. In order for it to reach a higher level people need to stop treating it as a hobby and as a profession with value. Fashion is culture, fashion is identity but it is also revenue. In New York, London and Paris people in fashion will make more than doctors and lawyers because, it has become a valuable industry. So in order to have value, it must be valuable first. That being said people in the fashion industry in Ottawa no matter what they are; designer, blogger, PR or model. Knowledge is number one and key, this is a complex industry that has a lot of history, background and diversity. If people studied this industry a bit more and tried to understand how the big four capitals do things and have developed through the years, things may unfold in a much different manner. All in all, this isn’t just an Ottawa problem… this is a Canadian problem. Fashion has yet to be incorporated into the cultural policy of this country and progression within industries only occur once it is established within the government aspect and cultural aspect of the country. Which is why getting into the habit of studying this industry is important. People would be extremely surprised at even how behind Toronto is compared to other fashion based cities. Once those challenges and flaws are met and understood – that is when a revolution within the industry becomes a must.

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Naira addressing the crowd at the launch.

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Naira and a couple of her team members.

She is definitely an inspiring young woman and I do look forward to working with her in inspiring this revolution for the Canadian fashion industry. She is very determined and there is no doubt she will be successful in this venture.

Last up on the night was a great afterparty held at Mezzanotte Bistro in the Byward Market, a very trendy and stylish location with great cocktails.

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So please go give The Exclusives Facebook page a like, follow them on Twitter and Instagram and if you’re in the Ottawa area and require their services, reach out to them! Let the revolution begin!

-The Don 😉

 

Dapper as EPH: Part 2

Hellooooo again Dapperites,

Earlier today I promised that I would post an update of me wearing my new custom suit, so here it is:

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A beautiful custom fit in a loud pattern and a double breast as you can see (can’t forget the flashy green socks as well!)

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Complete with the “Rusty Mustache” Tie and Tie Bar I mentioned earlier. You can really see in this shot how wide the lapels are, just how I like em! Wide lapels are definitely in if you’re looking for a bold, European look.

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In case you were wondering how cuffed suit pants look, here it is. I just like the retroness of them, I always dress to be different. Like I always say, better to stand out than to blend in!

If anyone is interested in a custom suit or shirt, feel free to contact me: andrewm@ephapparel.com

Till next time, Stay Dapper my Friends 😉

-The Don